Looking for an easy way to carry 2,500 .JPG images? How about 275 MP3 files? A 200,000-contact Outlook database? IBM's revved-up 1.0 GB Microdrive Travel Kit can boost your productivity and fun because of its tiny size and light weight, versatile compatibility with a wide range of devices, and knock-out easy installation.
It's important to note that you can't use the IBM Microdrive with all CompactFlash slots. Type I slots are too narrow -- you need the wider slot called a CF+ II slot; for example, the new HP Jornada 545/548 Pocket PCs have a Type I slot and can't use this card, while the Casio Pocket PCs can.
You can't compare the per megabyte cost of the Microdrive with conventional hard drives -- if you want a regular drive by all means buy one. When you compare the storage cost of the Microdrive with removable flash memory media such as CompactFlash cards, Smart Media cards, MMC cards, and Memory Sticks, however, IBM's new model is the hands-down best choice. Compared to CompactFlash memory cards (which cost roughly $2 per MB for 64MB cards), the 1.0 GB MicroDrive is a great deal at $0.50 per MB. You could carry the equivalent amount of data on 70 floppy disks for a much lower price, but imagine how cumbersome and slow that would be.
The Microdrive's range of compatible devices includes many professional and a few prosumer digital cameras, most keyboard-equipped handheld PDAs, some keyboard-less PDAs, and, because the Travel Kit includes a PC Card (PCMCIA) adapter, almost all notebook PCs. You can also pop the Microdrive into the increasingly common CF card readers that usually attach to notebook or desktop PCs with USB cables. The travel kit also comes with a plastic case to hold the PC card and the Microdrive -- the combo's still small enough to fit in a tiny shirt pocket.
We used the Microdrive successfully with a two-year-old NEC Mobile Pro 800 Windows CE handheld PC, a brand-new HP Jornada 720 Handheld PC 2000, a Casio Cassiopeia E-115 Pocket PC, a San Disk card reader connected to a desktop PC, a Micron Transport notebook, and a Dell Inspiron 7000 notebook. The first time you plug the device into a plug-and-play notebook, Windows 98 sees it as a conventional IDE/EIDE device and automatically loads the driver (we didn't have to use the provided floppy with driver files). After initial installation on a Windows notebook, the drive can be found as a lettered drive in Windows Explorer or in My Computer. When we slid the IBM drive into the PDAs and the card reader, we accessed it with no additional steps.
If the price of the 1GB drive is a stopper, but you like the size and platform versatility of the MicroDrive, a 512MB model costs around $100 less, and the original 340MB version is still available for even cheaper.
|Manufacturer est. price||$499|
|Rated formatted capacity||1.00GB|
|Cost per megabyte||49 cents|
|Available in retail package||Yes|
|Number of platters||1|
|Number of heads||1|
|Average seek time||12 ms|
|Average latency||8.33 ms|
|Maximum internal transfer rate (media to buffer)||59.9 megabits per second|
|Maximum external transfer rate (buffer to host)||13.3 megabits per second|
|Standard warranty parts||1 years|
|Standard warranty labor||1 years|
|Advanced replacement available||Yes|
|Toll-free technical support hours||24/7|
|Who pays for shipment under warranty||Customer|
|File downloads available via Web||Yes|
|Online technical support||Yes|
|Internal or External||External|
|Platforms||PC, Mac; CF+ II-compliant Windows CE handhelds and digital cameras|
|Data density (gigabit-per-square-inch)||15.2|
|Dimensions (in inches)||0.2 x 1.7 x 1.4|
|Disk rotation speed||3600 RPM|
|Storage capacity per platter||1GB|